Book review: The Science of Mother Infant Sleep: Current Findings on Bedsharing, Breastfeeding, Sleep Training, and Normal Infant Sleep

Middlemiss, W. & Kendall-Tackett, K. (Eds.). (2014).The Science of Mother-Infant Sleep: Current Findings on Bedsharing, Breastfeeding, Sleep Training, and Normal Infant Sleep. Amarillo, Texas: Praeclarus Press. 220 Pages.

The Science of Mother-Infant Sleep is a compilation of recent research on such topics as bedsharing, breastfeeding, sleep training, and SIDS. The academic tone of the book is likely better suited to health-care professionals, although parents who would like an in-depth analysis of research without a lot of opinion-based commentary would also find The Science of Mother-Infant Sleep helpful. The text provides a thorough summary of the topic, and the references that follow each chapter make it easy for the reader to investigate the topic in detail.

Each chapter of the book focuses on a specific topic related to infant sleep through a review of the recent scholarly research. It is unlike the more traditional parenting books in that it does not provide a long list of detailed instructions or procedures to follow. Instead, readers can draw conclusions from the research and determine their own plan of action.

Many parents, who are experiencing “sleep problems” with their infants and have explored all of the commercial sleep training programs, would likely find this approach to sleep research refreshing. This book excels in its approach to controversial topics such as bedsharing and sleep training. By simply reporting on the conclusions of each scientific study, the authors of The Science of Mother-Infant Sleep are able to remove all personal judgment of the decisions the reader makes. Since debates on these topics significantly contribute to the so-called “mommy wars,” the objective approach of this book is unique. The evidence-based nature ofThe Science of Mother-Infant Sleep makes it an ideal reference for health-care professionals who would like to provide the most recent scientifically based information to the parents of children in their care.

There are numerous authors of this book and all have vast experience in the fields of infant sleep and breastfeeding. Nearly all the authors have a PhD, and one of the editors is an IBCLC (International Board Certified Lactation Consultant.). They are currently working in the fields of Anthropology, Psychology, and Pharmacology, which gives them a diverse range of knowledge and experience to review research and make recommendations for parents. There are no major conflicts of interest, although the authors rely on their own research to support their claims and conclusions.